Halloween (and more) in London
November 18, 2013 § Leave a comment
Though we had heard that Brussels is hopping on the Halloween bandwagon, we felt we couldn’t risk a total flop this year. The boys have been through a lot of changes over the past few months, and to miss a real Halloween (or at least a very good facsimile) would be a shame. That it fell over the fall half-term break and Sebastian’s birthday was the following Sunday were just two more reasons to make a mini vacation out of it. So we decided to head to London to see some dear friends, who had also mentioned that they go trick-or-treating in their neighborhood. When we told Sebastian where we were going, his first response was, “They speak English there?” Yeah, this was a good idea.
Our friends had told us not to get our hopes up, but they were definitely underselling it. There were lots of trick-or-treaters out and the houses were really done up. The kids had a great time. It was only afterward that we realized it wasn’t that they hadn’t gotten much candy, they had simply eaten it as they went along. We also realized that Xavier, who was pretty tired and happily jumped into the stroller between houses, is a natural: he elbowed his way up to the door like a seasoned pro.
The evening we arrived we went out for pizza to celebrate Sebastian’s birthday a few days early. Then on our first full day we stayed local and pretended to be Chiswickers: enjoying a leisurely breakfast, going to the park, shoe shopping. When you travel with kids, sometimes finding a great playground can be the best discovery. The next day we hopped on a double-decker, nabbed the prime seats in front up top, and headed into the center. We avoided a quick rain shower by dashing into a Waterstone’s, window shopped, meandered over to Buckingham Palace, and strolled through St. James’s Park.
Halfway through the trip we headed to Brockley to stay with another (gracious/brave) friend. The weather was beautiful on Saturday and we took a long walk along the south bank, stoping first at the Golden Hinde II, a replica of the ship Sir Francis Drake used to circumnavigate the globe in the sixteenth century. For certain members of the group, this was the real highlight of the trip, especially the purchase of two Captain Hook hands (see: almost every picture thereafter). We also had fish and chips at Borough Market, and followed the river to Tate Modern before crossing and meandering some more (there may have been another bus ride, we were too tired to pay much attention) and ending up at the lovely Daunt Books in Marylebone. It was nice to have a knowledgable guide and not have to consult a map every five minutes (thank you Lenka!).